the great rebirth debate

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby binocular » Thu May 16, 2013 11:53 am

Alex123 wrote:I didn't say that they suffered. I said that they "still felt pain".

What's your point?


It is a well known fact that alcohol impairs judgement. It can also be observed.

So? What conclusions do you draw from that?


What we cannot observe is consciousness existing without the brain.

Yes, that may be true, if we disregard the problems around what the term "consciousness" means and if we posit that the only relevant way to observe anything is by third-party observers.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby binocular » Thu May 16, 2013 11:54 am

Alex123 wrote:This is what developed over billion of years of evolution. Lifeforms surviving and passing corresponding genes. Those lifeforms that didn't survive and didn't pass genes, we don't have alive today. Speculations about "The Self" is very recent (compared to billion years) phenomenon, perhaps few thousand years old.

I really hate to repeat myself:

If you posit that "biological givens" as understood by modern Western science are more basic and override any specific religious or particular notions, and that all people are essentially the same, regardless of their religion or their spiritual advancement - then you're simply elevating modern Western science to your utmost authority. In which case, why bother with Buddhism.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Thu May 16, 2013 12:01 pm

kirk5a wrote:You're missing the point. I'm not saying the radio example should be taken as the correct model for consciousness. What it demonstrates is that those who assume something about causation from their observation of altering something physical, are making an unjustified leap in logic.


How come that every time brain is damaged, something about the mind is damaged?

Even if brain is not the ONLY cause for consciousness, as long as it is required cause (just like radio for sound), if even one necessary cause is gone, so will the effect be gone.

kirk5a wrote:As far as b) goes, please direct everyone to where neurology has proved that consciousness depends on the brain.


You can find it in books on neurology.

There are many examples. To start:
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2 ... entist.com,

Alterations of sociomoral judgement and glucose utilization in the frontomedial cortex induced by electrical stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) in Parkinsonian patients (2004)

Verbal and Visual Memory Improve After Choline Supplementation in Long-Term Total Parenteral Nutrition: A Pilot Study
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Thu May 16, 2013 12:03 pm

binocular wrote:So? What conclusions do you draw from that?


That mind depends on the brain.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby binocular » Thu May 16, 2013 12:09 pm

Then, to paraphrase your signature - If Alex is imperfect, then it is ignorant to try to change him to perfection, so we shall just accept what is.

Good luck.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby kirk5a » Thu May 16, 2013 12:12 pm

Alex123 wrote:
kirk5a wrote:You're missing the point. I'm not saying the radio example should be taken as the correct model for consciousness. What it demonstrates is that those who assume something about causation from their observation of altering something physical, are making an unjustified leap in logic.


How come that every time brain is damaged, something about the mind is damaged?

Even if brain is not the ONLY cause for consciousness, as long as it is required cause (just like radio for sound), if even one necessary cause is gone, so will the effect be gone.

How come every time the radio is damaged, something about the sound is damaged? But is anything about the signal damaged? And now you're conflating the sound which comes out of the radio, with the radio signal. The radio is a necessary cause for the sound, but not the signal. Again, the point is - not that the radio example is the correct, true model for consciousness. It just shows that your logic isn't sound.

The word "consciousness" doesn't even appear in any of those articles.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Thu May 16, 2013 12:29 pm

kirk5a wrote:How come every time the radio is damaged, something about the sound is damaged? But is anything about the signal damaged?


The signal is not damaged, but the sound coming out of radio is. This is what matters. Furthermore, the signal is produced by physical means.
Is it possible to damage the radio so much that signal transmitting Beethoven's music plays back Marylin Manson? No. But with brain similar can occur. A person can have nice mental states, but through specific damages to specific areas of the brain, angry mental states will occur. This suggests that brain is not only the "receiver", but "generator" of the "signal"


kirk5a wrote:The word "consciousness" doesn't even appear in any of those articles.


It talks about studies that show that changes to the brain alter the mind.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu May 16, 2013 12:55 pm

Alex123 wrote:
binocular wrote:But the arahant doesn't equal his or her body.

Buddha, Angulimala, MahaMogallana still felt pain.


So if a Buddha still feels pain, ages and dies, and death is final extinction, why bother with Buddhist practice atall?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby kirk5a » Thu May 16, 2013 12:57 pm

Alex123 wrote:
kirk5a wrote:How come every time the radio is damaged, something about the sound is damaged? But is anything about the signal damaged?


The signal is not damaged, but the sound coming out of radio is. This is what matters. Furthermore, the signal is produced by physical means.
Is it possible to damage the radio so much that signal carrying, lets say Beethoven's music, plays back Marylin Manson or something like that? No. But with brain similar can occur. A person can have nice mental states, but through specific damages to specific areas of the brain, angry mental states will occur. This suggests that brain is not only the receiver, but generator of the "signal"

That is really weak. First of all, we could tinker with a radio and make Beethoven sound like Hell-spawn Symphony No. 5. This sort of thing is done all the time with music - it's simply a matter of passing the signal through various filters which alter its characteristics. Secondly, the sound coming out of the radio is NOT all that matters, if you want to fully understand how the sound is generated. If someone assumes it's entirely created by the physical machine you're looking at, that's a wrong assumption. Again - try to absorb the point that the example shows there is a logical problem in assuming, based upon observations of alterations in something physical - that shows the physical thing is the complete cause and explanation for the phenomena in question.

kirk5a wrote:The word "consciousness" doesn't even appear in any of those articles.


It talks about studies that show that changes to the brain alter the mind.

The word "mind" doesn't appear either. And by the way, now you're changing your story. You originally said "Neurology proved that consciousness depends on the brain." I asked for evidence, and now you are restricting the point to observations of alterations, rather than causation.
Last edited by kirk5a on Thu May 16, 2013 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu May 16, 2013 12:58 pm

binocular wrote:So, yes, at some point, the whole practice may seem like nothing more than a glorified coping strategy. That is in roundabout the view that some Western psychologists probably have of Buddhism.


It also seems to be the view that some secular Buddhists have.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby binocular » Thu May 16, 2013 3:08 pm

porpoise wrote:
binocular wrote:So, yes, at some point, the whole practice may seem like nothing more than a glorified coping strategy. That is in roundabout the view that some Western psychologists probably have of Buddhism.


It also seems to be the view that some secular Buddhists have.

Most Buddhists probably start out as secular Buddhists.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby chownah » Thu May 16, 2013 3:10 pm

binocular wrote:So, yes, at some point, the whole practice may seem like nothing more than a glorified coping strategy. That is in roundabout the view that some Western psychologists probably have of Buddhism.

Seems to me that all of our actions and intentions are just a glorified coping strategy......coping with the result of the six sense doors along with their objects and associated consciousnesses.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby binocular » Thu May 16, 2013 3:16 pm

porpoise wrote:So if a Buddha still feels pain, ages and dies, and death is final extinction, why bother with Buddhist practice atall?

I guess in that case, "Buddhist" "practice" comes down to keeping up appearances. There in fact is a measure of satisfaction in keeping up appearances.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby binocular » Thu May 16, 2013 3:21 pm

chownah wrote:
binocular wrote:So, yes, at some point, the whole practice may seem like nothing more than a glorified coping strategy. That is in roundabout the view that some Western psychologists probably have of Buddhism.

Seems to me that all of our actions and intentions are just a glorified coping strategy......coping with the result of the six sense doors along with their objects and associated consciousnesses.

I think that depending on how one frames one's basic existential issues, one can really screw oneself up.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby chownah » Thu May 16, 2013 3:24 pm

porpoise wrote:So if a Buddha still feels pain, ages and dies, and death is final extinction, why bother with Buddhist practice atall?

I am perfectly willing to accept the possibility that the Buddha felt pain, aged, and died, and that death is final extinction....and accepting this has absolutely no impact on my practice at all.....to me it is totally irrelevant.....the benefits in pursuing what he taught are the basis for my practice and whatever his life was is of no importance to me at all....focus on the message, not the messenger.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby chownah » Thu May 16, 2013 3:29 pm

binocular wrote:
chownah wrote:
binocular wrote:So, yes, at some point, the whole practice may seem like nothing more than a glorified coping strategy. That is in roundabout the view that some Western psychologists probably have of Buddhism.

Seems to me that all of our actions and intentions are just a glorified coping strategy......coping with the result of the six sense doors along with their objects and associated consciousnesses.

I think that depending on how one frames one's basic existential issues, one can really screw oneself up.

Whatever one wants to think of as one's self will always screw one's self up.....this is a basic teaching of the Buddha and is usually followed by the advice to have no doctrine of self whatever......advice which is rarely understood and even more rarely does one try to follow it.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Thu May 16, 2013 3:33 pm

porpoise wrote:
Alex123 wrote:
binocular wrote:But the arahant doesn't equal his or her body.

Buddha, Angulimala, MahaMogallana still felt pain.


So if a Buddha still feels pain, ages and dies, and death is final extinction, why bother with Buddhist practice atall?



Not to suffer where one doesn't have to.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Thu May 16, 2013 3:34 pm

binocular wrote:
porpoise wrote:
binocular wrote:So, yes, at some point, the whole practice may seem like nothing more than a glorified coping strategy. That is in roundabout the view that some Western psychologists probably have of Buddhism.


It also seems to be the view that some secular Buddhists have.

Most Buddhists probably start out as secular Buddhists.



I didn't. You can even check in the middle of this thread (and elsewhere) I was very attached to defending literal rebirth.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Alex123 » Thu May 16, 2013 3:52 pm

kirk5a wrote:And by the way, now you're changing your story. You originally said "Neurology proved that consciousness depends on the brain." I asked for evidence, and now you are restricting the point to observations of alterations, rather than causation.


You are playing with definitions. Let me rephrase it more precisely: By damaging the brain, you can damage mental states. Also by damaging the brain you can make person blind, deaf, not-feel any pain, etc.

It is also not just matter of causation, but of dependence. Even if the brain is not the sole cause for mind, or consciousness - if it is necessary cause, then even if other causes are met, if this necessary cause is missing - then consciousness or mind will not occur.


kirk5a wrote:That is really weak. First of all, we could tinker with a radio and make Beethoven sound like Hell-spawn Symphony No. 5.


1) How can radio convert sound carrying Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 into coherent music such as "Sweet Dreams" by Marylin Manson.

2) Even if you could change any signal into any coherent music, the final outcome is still with the radio. If brain is responsible for interpretation of "signal" as loving kindness or hatred, then the brain is still important and necessary cause for the final outcome.

3) Without the radio, what music can the signal produce? It can't. Same is with brain.

Radio wave is produced by physical causes, and quickly ceases. What produces consciousness (if not the brain) and how can we study it?

4) If consciousness is immaterial and has no place, then how does it interact with physical objects that have place? Why is it when I walk downstairs or upstairs, the consciousness changes location? What keeps it glued to this body and location of this body?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby binocular » Thu May 16, 2013 3:58 pm

Alex123 wrote:I didn't. You can even check in the middle of this thread (and elsewhere) I was very attached to defending literal rebirth.

That could mean many things. For example, it could mean you were new to Buddhism and not particularly knowledgeable, and, excuse the word, cocky, but wanted to gain a place and acceptance among Buddhists or were blindly eager for a solution to your existential quandary, so you played along and everything seemed to make sense.
Later on, when the first flush started to wane, you started to actually think more about the things you supposedly believed, and that eventually lead you to recant your previous position or certainty thereof.

It happens all the time to people who are new to a religion or philosophy: first they are all for it, it all seems to make sense, and they tend to interpret this as "having the faith" and "getting it right." After a while, the infatuation wears off, and then comes the real work. Many people tend to understand this loss of the initial momentum as "loss of faith" or "abandoning the path" - but it's not necessarily that.
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